Scrum = Scrum (It Still Is) – Guest Post By Alan Dayley


www.implementingscrum.com -- Cartoon -- August 6, 2007


This is a guest posting by a great Certified ScrumMaster and Certified Scrum Practitioner Alan Dayley who also has a blog called Dayley Agile.

It reflects on a comic strip and blog entry I did a few years ago entitled, “Scrum = Scrum“.

So without further introduction… here is another awesome great Guest Posting… Comments are welcome — and encouraged — to be shared at the end of the posting.

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Scrum = Scrum (It Still Is)

Ah, the smooth flavor of plain vanilla Scrum. Simple. Easy to understand. There’s even a little book that explains it in five minutes! Why is it so hard for some people to swallow?

This cartoon was originally published in August, 2007. It and Mike’s text addressed a hot topic of the time, a debate about different “types” of Scrum. Many in the Scrum community were discussing how different teams or companies could adapt Scrum in different ways according their maturity or capabilities. If you go search the email list archives around that time, you will see some debate was had about the concept of Scrum “types.” Is the concept valid? If there are types, what are they? Just A, B and C or other variations? And so on.

In my view, the discussion has since broadened in scope and intensity.

Instead of talking just about types of Scrum, some of the community are now talking about adding or subtracting parts and pieces of Scrum. We talk of “Scrum But” and using Scrum inside waterfall.

The term “Scrumdamentalists” has been coined and seven supposed weaknesses of Scrum exposed.

Scrum usage is growing and changing.

Change is hard. Even Scrum and Agile practitioners are not immune to the difficulty of change. The discussion is not about types of Scrum but what Scrum is and is not.

Plain vanilla is under attack.

Don’t get me wrong, discussion and debate are necessary for innovation and growth. As long as we harness the passion toward good outcomes, even the more strident views being espoused can be valuable. Weakness and variations should be looked at for their contributions to our knowledge and improvement.

And, just because you like a chocolate and nuts swirled in your vanilla does not mean another person is silly for promoting plain vanilla.

There is great value in plain vanilla Scrum. Huge value, in fact.

Scrum is a simple framework, the basic definition can be understood in less than a day.

Scrum does not try to give all the answers or be one size fits all.

It is enough to get started and rapidly learn what you need to improve.

There is a balance in Scrum between prescriptive and freedom, strongly demanding certain, few practices and leaving the business to self-organize the rest.

A team in chaos or in a micro-management pit will find a much better world even if all they do is start with the Scrum practices.

It is easy to start and see improvements in just weeks, even days.

Yes, Scrum does not contain directives around engineering practices such as continuous integration or pair programming. Yes, Scrum lacks a mandate for what a Product Backlog must contain and how the items should be described. And some would say other things are also lacking or wrong. These are things that make Scrum easy to start using.

And once started down the Agile path of continuous improvement, Scrum provides a framework on which to build the practices that match each team’s situation. Want to add eXtreme Programming practices, go ahead! Need to add a Product Backlog Priority Adjustment Conference (I just made that up) with upper management, do it! Want to run your team board with a Kanban flow, that’s fine! All of that can be done within the Scrum framework.

I have no doubt that some teams and enterprises really do need more than just Scrum. Or some pieces and combination of Scrum, XP or some other thing. Asking them to choose what combination is right, from all the many choices, may result in no choice, more confusion and getting no closer to Agile.

And that is not good.

With all due respect to proponents of all Agile frameworks, methodologies and combinations there of, I remind you that plain vanilla Scrum is very powerful, highly adaptable and simply useful.

Don’t forget to try no more and no less than plain vanilla Scrum before dismissing it for some fancy combination. It could be just the taste you are looking for!

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As usual, comments are welcome and encouraged.

I’d like to sincerely Alan Dayley for taking the time to write this guest blog posting about Scrum.

Want to do a Guest Posting on www.implementingscrum.com? Contact me about writing about your views on any of the existing comic strips at this site!

Than you.

- mike vizdos
www.michaelvizdos.com
www.implementingscrum.com


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